After Josef, James father, tried to take his sons life for being an abomination. James Morphed into his fathers identical twin while Josef was digging a grave for his son after shooting him between the eyes. Josef believed his son to be dead. However while he was busy creating a plot for his newborn son. James was very much alive. Once the transformation was complete he used his fathers farmers body and swung the shovel down like an ax into his fathers skull. Splitting it in two.
Sofia, James mother, buried her husband in the grave that was meant to be for her son. Her eyes had no flare. She didn’t smile, ever. Sofia raised her newborn son who looked exactly like her husband. She was forced to go back to teaching and work on the farm until her son developed cognitively enough to help out on the farm. Thankfully for her that would only be a few years. Earlier people would come by to share their condolences. It was easy to tell them the man whom they believed to be Josef was Mentally retarded after shooting himself in a drunken despair after she lost the child. He had the brain of a new born. Despite a fully developed body. She would put a beanie on his head and make sure he doesn’t take it off. Hiding the fact there was no scar.
Now with the mind of a teenager he was able to help on the farm. She still taught art at Aim High School. It was her break away from James. It was confusing for Sofia. Watching her child walk around in her husband’s body. Sofia knew it wasn’t Josef based on his mannerisms alone but she was so distraught from that night. Intrusive thoughts fogged her mind. “Should I have let Josef kill him.” She would rid herself of anxiety by painting her feelings in the basement. She would have to be alone until James was ready to leave the house. If she tried to move forward with another man while people believed her to be a married woman they would call her a whore. This was Wormwood after all. Gossip was like summer time wild fire. But the whole situation is unbelievably inappropriate. In reality for her to move on Sofia would have to divorce her son. She had fully become a member of Wormwood’s backwards hillbilly community that she has always deeply resented.
Early in the morning James carried a big bundle of hay for the horses. One of the horses has been sick for some time. James noticed it hadn’t touched any food or water in three days and hasn’t stood up either. He just lays in the shade taking deep breathes. Sofia says the heavy breathing comes from his illness. After feeding the horses James walks up to the severely ill horse and places his hand on it. Flies already cling to him. “Don’t you want to eat at all boy? Might make you feel a little better.” James holds the hay near the horses mouth. The horse looks at him with big dark eyes and snorts. “So you’ve made your decision it looks like.” James pulls out a carrot. Don’t tell the others. James walks away dangling the carrot. The horse takes great effort to stand. He walks slowly into the woods in the back of the barn. James has already prepared for this day. The horse walks as far as it’s able to before it stumbles towards the ground.
“Hey, you did good I’m proud of you.” He gives him the carrot but the horse shakes his head at the gesture. Almost as if it knew why it was being led away from the other horses. He wants death. The only cure for his suffering. James was going to use a gun because that was the quickest and painless way to do it. However after being shot by his father. James developed a phobia towards guns. Not necessarily the guns themselves but the memory they bring about. Even though he has no memory of that night. Whenever he sees or hears a gun. He gets a migraine and wants to cry.
James found his grandfathers fishing knife. It was dull for cutting but with enough force it would penetrate the animals brain and put him out of his misery. James ran three fingers along the knife admiring the steel. His hand began to tremble. Nerves? No. James has seen plenty of blood on the farm. His hand began to convulse uncontrollably. The three fingers he ran against the knife turned metallic and hard. They stretched and turned thin. His fingers stretched to a foot in length. They were as thin and hard as the blade except immeasurably sharper. The horse was afraid. As was James. He waved his hand as if he were able to shake it off. Suddenly his fingers went back to normal because he wished them to so badly. The horses deep breathing became abnormal he was frantically waiting for the pain to be over with. James looked at the horse. With a thrust of his forearm his hand snapped back into a blade that pierced the horses temple. The horses breathing ceased. His muscles released. Eyes wide, hollow. James withdrew the blade from the horses skull. The blade so sharp it slid right out. The blade slowly retracted. James put his hands together as if he were praying for the horse. He put his hands over his head. Blood running down the one hand. He created a battle ax. He didn’t stop swinging various tools into the horse. He walked out of the woods soaked and naked. Dripping with the crimson innards of what was suppose to be a quick and painless mercy kill.
“His mind has developed in three short years from birth to adolescence.” Sofia often wonders about his shape shifting ability. “Could James manipulating his brain matter into an adult brain without any of the life experience lead to a psychosis? An average child in a reality should understand only basic motor skills. He’s still a baby. At three years old he should be able to replicate potty training, making cereal for yourself, things like that. Instead he’s been asked to manage a farm on his own. Operating heavy equipment. Caring for creatures he should be just learning the names of. Does James truly understand any of this world or does his fathers mimicked adult brain feed him answers he goes along with. Does he question me I wonder?”
“I remember as a little girl when my mother died when I was 13 years old. I had so many unanswered questions. If my mother was a good church going person, and we all were good church going children why would he turn on us and take not just a provider, but our mother. I don’t believe the image of blood spilling out of my mothers eyes, nose, and mouth will ever leave my mind. Did the book lie? Is he not of mercy? All my questions answered by my family through vague phrases paraphrased from the bible. I wanted God to answer me so I would shout my prayers with welling eyes.” Sofia put her head on the steering wheel tearing up. “If a little girl who at thirteen had to become an adult and provide for her three younger siblings ends up crying in the parking lot of a high school she went to, and now works at. What will happen to James?”
After James buries the remains he throws his clothes on top of the remains. All the blood soaked into the dirt. He wasn’t expecting that much blood. James goes to hose himself off before stepping foot into the house. One of his mothers rules. “Always keep a tidy work space and home. If you work for it. Take care of it. That goes for body hygiene as well.”
“Mother has a lot of rules,” he thinks. I wonder how she keeps track of them all. While showering in the house warm water runs through his jet black hair. He can’t stop thinking about what he did with his hand. Nor can he stop the image of that poor horses pain as he hobbled along. The expression in his eye.
He grabs a towel to dry off. James flesh becomes similar to clay and warps as he wipes his face then it snaps back into place. He is a thirty four year old male again. He hears the sticky front door open and greets his mother. “Jesus Christ, James put on some clothes.” Putting her hand up to visually block her sons privates. glancing out of curiosity to see how similar to his father he is. Everything is the same as Josef. He notices her glancing and she notices his awareness of her curiosity and blushes. “Put on some clothes.” Sofia repeats in a sharper tone.
“Okay.” He runs up stairs. Except he goes into his mothers room instead of his own and puts on his fathers plaid over shirt, and jeans. “I’m dressed.” James says with excitement. Hoping to surprise his mother. Sofia almost spits hot tea onto the kitchen table. “Who said you could wear those?” She says with a quivering voice. Seeing Josef face is confusing as it is. But to have him dress the same as his father. “Absolutely not! I did not give you permission to go in my room. Nor did I give you permission to go through your fathers things.” Put them back where you found them and wear your own clothes.
“No.” He says with a cold blank stare. “Jo… James go put those back where you found them.” He shakes his head in defiance. “Right now! five… four…” James takes a step forward. “One.” James voice deepened. His mother pulls back. “James… do you have something you’d like to say to me.” She says while getting goose bumps.
“Too many rules. I hate them.” She smiles. “Well life is full of rules you have to obey. It’s best you get used to them.” He presses his thumb incredibly hard into three knuckles which are starting to tremble. He runs back up stairs and slams the door. Tremors are spreading throughout his body. They’re incredibly powerful in his head. He presses his palms against his skull to ease the throbbing with no luck. “Aarrrggghhh!!” He screams out in immense agony. “Yell all you want. You won’t get your way.” Sofia shouts in a condescending tone. He screams for 15 minutes straight. His voice goes horse. The screams turn into growling.
Sofia goes up stairs in an attempt to talk and try to calm him. She knocks gently. “James? I wanted to try and explain myself. It wasn’t fair to yell at you like that. You’re owed an explanation. James?” He tries to control his body. It seems to be having an emotional reaction on its own. His entire body is pulsating. Muscles contorting and twisting violently. He lays on the floor curled into a ball.
James eyes glow with a rainbow spectrum of all sorts of colors. He sees a National Geographic magazine under his bed. On the cover is an Octopus on it. His back starts to bulge and bubble tearing his dads plaid shirt. “Honey? I really am sorry. Let’s not fight. She turns the handle gently. She no longer hears screaming. He’s holding his breath. He spots the door opening. Three tentacles burst from the center of his back. His right arm twists and expands also into a tentacle. which he uses to slam the door shut. Sofia jumps back. “Liiissssten tooo meeee.” James demands of his body.
James left fist appears to melt into a ball. He can feel the bones in his hand dissolve into a liquid substance. Inside this ball of flesh things are growing and shifting inside. His hand morphs into a head. The mouth opens like a wide mouth bass. He shuts his eyes as hard as he can. It’s tongue flails about. A nose presses forward and two eyes force their way out of two slits. Hair on the scalp flows down. It fully forms his mothers head mouthing the words. “It is not fit for human eyes.” Everything in his mind begins to take shape on his body. He cries silently, a wheezing sound barely escapes his throat.
“Well, I’ll leave you alone. I just want to say I’m sorry. It hurts me to see you as I saw my husband, your father. I thought I could bury those feelings… I’ll talk to you about it later I guess.” Sofia puts her ear to the door. James whispers, “Please don’t hate me.”
She puts her hand on the door. “I could never hate my only son.” Then she begins to walk a crossed the hall. Sofia enters her room before she closes the door she whispers. “I just hope whatever you are underneath that false exterior doesn’t consume you. She shuts the door slowly hoping to hear a reply from her son but she doesn’t. She lays on the bed. She no longer feels the need to cry. Sofia just stares at the ceiling contemplating what she had hoped her life to be until it was time to get ready for work the next day.
James lays on his side unconscious. Pores open in his back starts gurgling blood. The blood runs towards a closet where it starts to take shape. His clothes are torn to shreds. James doesn’t feel any pain due to a numbness throughout his body. Caused by emotional and physical wreckage of his mind meeting the stage of puberty in a brief instant. James takes shallow breathes his body twitches on the ground as if he is on the brink of death.
Just before James alarm was set to go off a single knock woke him. Not on the door, this was an accident. James stood up. Not recalling what happened James proceeds about his day like usual. Two quick knocks, followed by his mother’s voice. “It’s me.” She says. Immediately reflecting on how silly it was. Who else would it be?
“I wanted to talk briefly before I go to work about last night. I’m sorry for what I said… may I come in?” James opens the door. His mother nervously smiles. Hoping not to upset her son again. The reason for my emotional reaction was out of seeing you as my husband. I don’t know if you could ever understand how confusing this is.” Sofia loses eye contact with James.
“I loved my Josef. After you… after he died. I lost half of who I am. To see you walking around in his body is painful enough but I’ve always been able to distinguish between the two of you with body language and the way you dress and act. But when I saw you in his clothes. The feelings I pushed down sprang back up. I just need you to know that I love you. This just isn’t normal. I need you to understand that as well.”
“I don’t understand what you’re talking about.” James says innocently. “You don’t… yesterday you went into my room and thought it would be cute to wear your father’s clothes. I became upset and yelled at you. You don’t remember?”
“My fathers clothes don’t interest me at all. I don’t recall doing such a thing. Very peculiar. I’m not calling you a liar. Things are rather foggy. I woke up with a splitting headache.”
“Well then, let’s just forget the whole thing happened. Literally.” Sofia chuckles.
As she was driving to work. She hadn’t payed any mind at the time, but James was more confident and well spoken. Something was going on with that boy. There was no doctors on earth who she could trust to examine him though.
“Could this be another sped up growth development. Three years to become adolescent. One night of puberty.”
Back home James is performing a variety of farm duties. He’s going quite fast. Normally there would be a nagging at him that he would suppress. At 2:30 he took a brake to eat lunch and enjoy some iced tea. He heard a thud up stairs. His room was open. He always keeps it closed. He walks in to find things have been rummaged through, but nothing misplaced.
James pushes the door open slightly until he spots a teenage boy. Then he swings it open fast for the effect of taking him by surprise. He appears to be about 16 years old. Holding a photo of when his parents first met at Aim High School. “Are you robbing us?” James asks.
The boy laughs as he dabs his neck with more cologne then is necessary. “No.” The stranger sets Josef’s favorite bottle of cologne down on the dresser. He notices the boy wearing his father’s clothes. “If you aren’t stealing why are you wearing clothing that aren’t yours. This could be the example under the definition of stealing.”
“It was your idea. Don’t act all high and mighty because we have separate bodies.” James was caught off guard. “You didn’t want to live a life of servitude to that bitch. James take care of this. When your done with that, do this. All fuckin’ day long. You know why she does that?” James scoffs, “because there’s a lot of work to be done.”
“Wrong! Because it keeps you out of sight.” James steps forward. “I won’t be lectured by some thief who broke into our home.” The kid pounds the dresser with his fist. “Stop treating me like a stranger, I’m you! Don’t you understand? You’ve manipulated and warped your mind along with your body. Whatever your mind conjures up is created into physical matter. You wanted to put that horse out of it’s misery. Oh look my hand is a giant knife. swoosh! Dead. You were born a pile of flesh. Your dad wanted to put you into a shallow grave and tell everyone mommy miscarried. Instead you rightfully buried a shovel into his skull. Taking the form of someone you thought mom would love.” James shakes his head. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” The boy laughs, then sighs heavily. “You don’t remember any of this anymore because you put it into my fucking head. Every memory you’ve ever had that made you feel sad, angry, or uneasy.” He points to his head with two fingers. “You opened Pandora’s box.” He picks up the garbage bag filled with Josef’s clothes, then puts his hand on James shoulder. “Whatever happens next is on your conscious.”
James gets chills up his spine. “What are you planning on doing?” With a menacing smile he replies, “Whatever I want. After all, you would know. These were your thoughts.” He pats James shoulder then walks away. He stops, standing in the doorway. “Based on the circumstances under which I was born I suppose you can call me Jinx. Yeah that’s fitting. Don’t you think… brother?” James follows him down stairs. He watches Jinx leave out the front door. Part of him wants to believe he’s just some crazy kid with a fried brain from too many drugs, but James remembers. It feels as there was a darkness that had a light cast on it. In this case, pulled out. He knows that troubled young man was telling the truth. “What was he planning on doing?”
James didn’t know what to do. He scoured the house for clues trying to figure out what Jinx next move would be. When James found the picture on the dresser that Jinx had been looking at earlier he realized what his plan was. James had looked at this picture of his dad at Aim High School at least a hundred times. He always had a secret desire to go there and make lots of friends. Someone with such ill intent couldn’t possibly have such a wholesome desire.
Jinx was walking along side the road and saw a jeep approaching. He put out his thumb. The driver slowed down. The window rolled down. “What are you doing way out here in the boonies?” Jinx was overjoyed. “Well I was kicked out of my folks place. So I thought farmers are always busy surely they would need a hand. Thought I could make some sort of arrangement, however no such luck. Is there any other family I could take you to?” Jinx shrugs, “I’m afraid not. I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place.” The driver feels for the young man. “I’m afraid I can’t let you stay with me and my husband but you can stay in my barn for a couple nights if you like. I know it’s not the height of luxury but it’s something.” Jinx smiles takes a step back. Pretending to present his body language as surprised. “You’d do that for me?” She nods. “Hop in.” Jinx excitedly opens the door. “Gosh thank you. Say what’s your name?” He shuts the door. “My name is Sofia.” Jinx pretends to be bashful. “That sure is a pretty name.” She returns the compliment with a simple, “Thank you.”
Before she puts the car into drive she feels something change. Somehow after getting into the vehicle his aura changed into something sinister. Before she asks him another question to feel him out. He has his large hand around her throat. Sofia punches him in the nose as hard as she can. Her hand seems to sink into his face. As if they were in a cartoon. After she pulls her fist back for another punch his flesh snaps back into place.
He grabs a clump of her hair slamming her face into the steering wheel several times. Blood gushes from her nostrils. He makes a fist and turns his flesh to stone. He hits her twice with two solid blows knocking her out. He gets out of the passenger side Whistling. Opening her door and undoes her seat belt. Jinx grabs a thick clump of her hair and yanks her out. She falls head first onto the asphalt. With a bloody piece of her scalp attached to the clump of hair. Jinx grabs her by the back of the neck and tosses her into the passenger seat.
As Jinx was walking he noticed a lake about five miles away. He cautiously drove towards it never driving before he was a little nervous. Once they arrived pulled Sofia out once again by the back of the her neck. He threw her in the face first into the shore. She floated for a bit. She would either drown or wake up. Either would do.
Her head sprang up wildly grasping for air. “Help!!! Someone help me!! Please. Help.” Sofia began to sob. She remained in the water. Jinx was watching her. “I’m correct to say that you have him working all that farm land because you can’t stand the sight of him. aren’t I?” Jinx was calm. “I don’t even know who you are.” She exclaimed. He nodded. “Sure you do.” She stares at him. Nothing comes to mind. Then it clicks. “James?” Irritated he shakes his head. “It’s not fit for human eyes.” She doesn’t understand what’s happening. I want to hear you say it. “It’s not fit for human eyes.” She remembers her husband saying that before he was about to kill their baby. She plays dumb. “I-I don’t… I don’t know what you’re talking about. “I’ve seen your paintings in the basement. I want to hear you say it. That you wished he had killed me. Then you would sew that clam shut because you’re convinced God hates you. Say it!” He walks into the water and circles her like a shark.
Sofia very calmly gives into the fact she is going to die, and speaks her truth. “Late at night when I can’t sleep I go to the basement. I go to the basement and paint all the violent things I wish Josef would have done to you. I curse God for my cruel, morbid life! I’m a good person that didn’t deserve…” Jinx index and middle finger form into a crowbar and he swings the hook into Sophia’s eye dragging her further into the water by her eye socket. He releases her and she frantically jumps up to attack him. The tips of his fingers turn to daggers. He grabs her by the throat. He slowly penetrates her face with five steel blades then releases her. she floats off towards the center. He searches for a large rock in the water, tossing it onto her stomach.
Jinx takes off his clothes. Kneeling on the beach. His back pulsates and blisters. His pores open and blood oozes out. This transformation was the quickest of them all. In a matter of minutes he had replicated his mother. They both dried off and put on Josef’s clothes. They got into the car and drove home.
When they arrived they calmly both just walked into the house. The basement door was broken into. James was sitting in a recliner watching it all. “I saw everything. I just closed my eyes and watched it all unfold with your eyes.”
“Like I said, we are the same, not separate entities.” James looks into the pitch black basement. Then looks at Sofia’s replica. “No more rules.” James says grinning ear to ear.
I hope you enjoyed this sequel. Check out the original Metamorphosis in short stories. Please share with your friends on social media. Thank you!